ATS3386 - Paradise lost? Sustainability and Australia - 2017

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

National Centre for Australian Studies


Professor Bruce Scates

Not offered in 2017


The unit may be offered as part of the Summer Arts ProgramSummer Arts Program (


How has the landscape shaped the definition of what it means to be Australian? How has Australia responded to the global challenge of creating a sustainable society? Have non-indigenous Australians learned from Aboriginal relationships with the natural environment, and what challenges do we now face in living with the land? This unit considers the climatic, cultural and economic forces which have shaped the landscape, exploring the dynamic interaction between Australians and their environment. It draws on a range of disciplines, including history, tourism, literature, geography, politics, journalism and cultural studies. It includes intensive field trips/excursions to the historic Rocks area of Sydney, indigenous sites and wilderness areas.


Upon successful completion of this unit students will:

  1. Demonstrate a familiarity with the major themes in the field of Australian environmental history with a particular focus on the challenges and opportunities of sustainability.
  2. Exhibit a critical understanding of changing perceptions of the Australian environment.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the climatic, cultural and economic forces that help to determine natural resource usage.
  4. Have engaged with global debates about the challenges of sustainable development.
  5. Have built the capacity to research and critically evaluate topical and historiographical debates regarding the impact of war on Australian identity and society.
  6. Have developed skills in constructing evidence-based arguments using a variety of primary and secondary sources, and demonstrated their ability to reflect critically on what they have learnt.
  7. Have developed skills in written and oral presentation and communication.
  8. Have developed a capacity to undertake location-based fieldwork, enhancing personal resilience and the capacity to work cooperatively in teams, and conduct independent research.
  9. Students taking this unit at Level 3 will demonstrate a higher level of skills in independent research and critical analysis.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 288 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Twelve credit points of second-year Arts units.


ATS2386, APG4712, APG5728